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An employment visa may be the first step toward U.S. citizenship

Immigration Services

Many people from abroad are hired by employers in the United States. There may be job opportunities in the U.S. that aren't available in an immigrant's home country. Or, a company in the U.S. may have sought out an immigrant employee to work in a specialized field. Therefore, some immigrants will seek an employment-based visa.

However, there is a limit on how many employment-based visas will be issued by the U.S. in a fiscal year (October 1 through September 30). Currently, only about 140,000 employment-based visas will be issued to those who meet the qualifications for such a visa. There are five preference categories that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will use to prioritize which immigrants will be issued an employee-based visa.

The employment first preference category includes persons with extraordinary ability, outstanding professors and researchers, and multinational managers or executives. The employment second preference category includes professionals holding an advanced degree and persons with exceptional ability. The employment third preference category includes skilled workers, professionals and unskilled workers. The employment fourth preference category includes certain special immigrants. There are many subgroups in the employment fourth preference category, which go beyond the scope of this post. Finally, the employment fifth category includes immigrant investors.

It is essential that immigrants seeking U.S. permanent residency based on an employment visa understand the process of obtaining such a visa. An immigrant needs to have a visa to work in the United States. If that immigrant wishes to become a permanent U.S. resident, he or she will need to apply for a Green Card. There are certain steps that immigrants must take to be issued a Green Card. However, once an immigrant has a Green Card, he or she will be a lawful permanent resident of the U.S. and can work in Kentucky or anywhere else in the country.

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